by Clannadlvr

Huge thanks to serrico for her invaluable beta work on this story. She did a bang up job of understanding, reflecting, and making it all work. Thanks so much!

Pairing: Clark/Lex
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters nor am I making any money off of them. This is merely for entertainment purposes.

"Syntax" by Clannadlvr

He wonders why Lex always says his name.

Whenever he shakes his hand, whenever they talk in circles around each other in the manner to which they've become accustomed. Even during small talk about how beautiful Smallville's tulips are this year or the misguided principles of Lao-Tse.

It's always "Clark."

It's like a slightly immature t.v. script where the guidelines of normal conversation are forgotten and a proper name at the end of every sentence becomes convention. Every time they talk he feels the grammar rules of the universe bend, unable to resist a cleverly turned phrase with just a hint of derision.

He wonders why it makes him feel marked.

Like every time Lex ends a sentence with his name, he feels the brand and its roiling sweet signature. There's pain and tightness and an almost giddy sense of elation.

It's not even a whisper against his skin and Clark becomes someone else's entirely.

So he's learned to deal with the odd sentence structure, to force his mind into comprehending the syntax.

And believe it or not, it's not that hard. In fact, he feels more comfortable surrounded by this language than the one he's spoken in the Kent household for most of his life.

It should feel unnatural, and strange, and just plain wrong. But maybe phrases from poetry and an address that's both formal and intimate all at the same time are part of the language he's meant to understand.

And suddenly the sound of his own name only has meaning from one set of lips.

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